PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

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In 1998 and 1999, I spent eight months living in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and what now is the Pennsylvania 7th congressional district. Living just four miles outside the district now, I have kept close ties to the area, which I have visited over one hundred times in the last seven years. These personal ties alone give me great pleasure to announce that Vice-Admiral Joseph Sestak has been added to the netroots ActBlue page.

As I noted yesterday, the Pennsylvania 7th is the eight most Democratic district in the nation held by a Republican. It currently sports a partisan voting index of +3.6% Democratic, with the trend lines pointed firmly in our direction. In 2004, with only $25K and 90 days to campaign, Paul Scholes received 41.4% of the vote here. And that was in a Republican year, not a year when Democrats hold double digit leads in congressional generic ballots. Yet, despite all of this, the NRCC does not list the PA-07 as one of their top twenty-one defenses. I think it is time for that to change, and to add to the ever growing list of seats they need to be very concerned about.

Of course, there is almost no way to talk about this district and not mention that it is currently represented by just about the craziest person in all of southeast Pennsylvania, Curt Weldon. This is a man who attended, spoke at, and organized a "coronation" for Sun Myung Moon as "humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent." Of course, Weldon denied everything, until more and ore evidence appeared proving that he spoke at and organized the event. This is the same man who decided to play politics with Joe Sestak's four-year old, cancer stricken daughter. This is the same man deep in the bowels of "Able Danger." And how, exactly, did Curt Weldon's own daughter move from being a special education teacher to starting a foreign relations consulting firm? Read more about this here.

But this isn't just about how winnable the district is, or how crazy Curt Weldon is. Here is a quote from Joe Sestak's website that I particularly like: One of the primary reasons I entered this election is that I believe invading Iraq was not the right decision. In between my visits to Afghanistan, I led a navy Carrier Battle Group that flew air strikes over Afghanistan into the Persian Gulf, and carried out combat flights over Iraq in preparation for the war. It was obvious that Iraq was not a threat.(...)

The choice that citizens of this great country have is not an unpatriotic one. If my 31 years in the military taught me anything, it was that we serve in this all-volunteer military to defend Americans' freedom to think as they please, and to say what they think, even if they disagree with their leaders. A democracy is based on freedom of expression, and those who join the military do so to fight, if necessary, the wars which defend that freedom--hoping that our use will be to a wise end.(...)

I firmly believe in a planned end to our military engagement in Iraq within the next year as the primary catalyst for change in Iraq. This timeline should only be extended if our military experts deem that a few more months are necessary in order to safely execute a complete withdrawal. I understand the Vietnam-like arguments that military disengagement may mean dominoes will fall, resulting in more regional strife and the further waning of U.S. credibility and power. But I counter those assertions with the real likelihood of a prolonged occupation with rising death, injury and cost for an unknown number of years. It will be an occupation that will continue to have goals that are ever changing as they remain elusive. The result will be continued loss of U.S. military and diplomatic international credibility. The reality-based community has a candidate. Joe Sestak is a fighting Dem who can win this race, and knock off a long-term Republican who clearly has nothing to do with the reality-based community. With your help, we can quickly turn this race into a very problematic pressure point for Republicans, forcing them into an extreme defense mode in the Philadelphia region. In 2004, the NRCC alone spent $5 million in the Philadelphia media market to Swift Boat Lois Murphy and Ginny Schrader. How much money can they spend to try and hold three seats? They only have $19.7 million in the bank. Considering that we have put a lot more seats in play this time, either they will be forced to blow almost half of that in the Philadelphia media market alone, or they will have to pull back on their 2004 efforts. Any pullback could easily mean that all three suburban Philadelphia seats, the 6th, the 7th and the 8th, will all flip to Democrats not to mention the impact on the Senate and Governor's races).

This is a huge strategic pressure point, a winnable race, a solid, reality-based fighting Dem, and a crazy, quite possibly corrupt Republican incumbent. This is a race worth targeting. Support Joe Sestak today.


Tags: Activism, House 2006, netroots, pa-07 (all tags)



Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

Amen to all that. Weldon hasn't had a strong opponent in years, and he's panicking.

by PantherDem 2006-04-07 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

I've been living in PA-07 for the past seven years, and while I agree Crazy Curt is beatable, I wouldn't underestimate how tough it's going to be.

Yes, the district has been trending Democratic for several cycles now (since '92, really) but as we saw in Dixie through the 70's and 80's, voters can go on pulling the lever for their local party machines for a long time after they've switched affiliations at the national level.

And believe me: Pa-07 is run by the GOP machine from hell. The local party bosses realize that if Weldon goes down it could break their death grip on power. Plus, the GOP head in Delaware County -- the heart of the district -- is the business partner of Weldon's dirty lobbyist daughter. If Weldon goes down, he goes down. So you know they're going to pull out all the stops this November.

And, just by coincidence, the county is switching to paperless electronic voting machines this election -- not Diebold-built, thank goodness, but still, new machines = lots of confusion at the polls, lots of chances to make sure there aren't enough machines in certain precincts, etc. We've all seen this movie before.

If Sestak is smart -- which he appears to be -- he also won't expect any help from the local Democratic Party. It's completely moribund.

The key, IMO, is to go brutally negative on Crazy Curt, as quickly and massively as possible. Personally, I'd like to see that picture of him pinning the medal on Ghadafi Duck on every local channel, 4 or 5 times a day from now until the election. Turn his daughter into Jack Abramoff in a dress, etc. But that kind of thing takes a LOT of money in Pa-07 -- to reach this district, you've got to buy the entire Philly radio and TV market, and that doesn't come cheap.

Bottom line: If you want to be rid of Crazy Curt, you need to give until it hurts, people.

by billmon 2006-04-07 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

Chris points out that even with only 90 days to campaign and with only $25,000 Paul Scholes still managed to hold Weldon, a powerful and entrenched incumbent in a Republican year, down to under 60% of the vote. What Chris doesn't mention is that the DCCC gave Scholes virtually no support-- and that Scholes' homosexuality was the subject of a vigorous, targeted whispering campaign by Weldon's bigoted and narrow-minded backers. Weldon has long since woken up to the fact that Joe Sestak in 2006 is an altogether different ball of wax. No doubt he rues the day-- was it just two days ago??-- that he attacked Joe's family's medical decision about his young daughter's treatment, a blatant and contemptible partisan miscalculation that probably sealed his fate.

Joe is the kind of man anyone in America would love to have for a representative-- a man of accomplishment and integrity and courage. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together who looks into Joe and then takes a look at the wretched, dishonorable, rubber-stamping, Moonie-loving Weldon will come to the same conclusion: embrace the former and discard the latter.

by DownWithTyranny 2006-04-07 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

Curt Weldon is lower than whale poop.  Go Joe!  Can't wait to pull the lever for you in November!

by ICantBelieve 2006-04-07 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

Joe is a great candidate, but I agree that this is still an uphill battle.

Weldon is certainly a nutjob though, and amazingly crass with that attack on Joe's choice of medical care for his daughter.

Just when you think republicans can't go any lower, someone like Weldon shows them how.

by MH in PA 2006-04-07 04:38PM | 0 recs
About time!

I just moved to PA-07 a year ago. I'm new to the Philly area, and it so happened when I interviewed for my current job in late October of 2004 I was pleased to see that Kerry/Edwards signs outnumbered Bush/Cheney signs by 2:1. Local politics was not on my mind back then, so imagine my shock when I moved in and realized that I was respresented in Congress by 3 Republicans!

Now one of those is soon to go, and one is not going anywhere for at least another 4 years. But it galls me to no end that Curt Weldon represents this district in the House. I don't claim to know the further-out parts of DelCo, but I can certainly tell you that my part of the district (Ardmore, Havertown) is sure as hell not going to be voting for any Republican in November!

Up until now I have been disappointed that this race hasn't appeared to get any attention in the blogosphere (everyone talking about Gerlach & Fitzgerald instead), so I am absolutely thrilled that Chris, Atrios and others are finally waking up to the winnability of this race. It's about time! I made my donation on March 31, just before the quarter closed & Sestak would up on the Atrios & NetRoots ActBlue pages. I hope everyone else will follow suit. In a district like this, in a climate like this, with a wacko incumbent like this, this seat should be ours.

by scottso 2006-04-07 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

"Anyone with two brain cells to rub together who looks into Joe and then takes a look at the wretched, dishonorable, rubber-stamping, Moonie-loving Weldon will come to the same conclusion: embrace the former and discard the latter."

Yeah, but Sestak needs a majority. ;-)

"I can certainly tell you that my part of the district (Ardmore, Havertown) is sure as hell not going to be voting for any Republican in November!"

Those are on the Main Line, and the mainline isn't the center of gravity in PA-07. To win, Setak is going to need to pick up the Main Line communities, pile up big majorities in the closer-in suburbs like Drexel Hill and Landsdowne, and make inroads into the faster growing, less established subdivisions out around Newtown Square and in Chester County -- places where voters are affluent and generally fiscally conservative, but not as wired into the county GOP machine.

This is doable -- just as Tim Keane was able to carry big, exurban Va. counties like Loudoun -- but again, it's going to take a lot of time, energy and money. And Sestak still has to reckon with the fact that the local GOP machine has shown an impressive ability to turn out the party droids in special and off-year elections.

What makes it doable is the fact that the Pa Republicans did the same thing to PA-07 in the last redistricting that the Texas GOP did to DeLay's district -- they carved out some of the more Republican areas to create other safe seats. They thought they left enough of a cushion for Weldon and the machine to hold on. We'll see if they were right in November.

by billmon 2006-04-07 09:03PM | 0 recs
Re: PA-07: Joe Sestak for Congress

"Pennsylvania 7th is the eight most Democratic district in the nation held by a Republican"

What are the top 10 Democratic Districts held by Republicans in 2006?

I am in CT-2 which has a Republican Congressman, but yet it used to have a Democrat in this seat and voted heavily for Kerry. Is this district considered in the top 10? If so, why don't we hear more about Joe Courtney?

by JJonMyDD 2006-04-08 06:07AM | 0 recs


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